Since their debut in 2016, Apple's AirPods have become the quintessential true wireless earbuds, thanks to their ease of use. But our reviews of the original and its followup came with caveats: Our reviewer Chris Velazco dinged them on sound quality and comfort issues. This year the company finally rectified those issues with the AirPods Pro. When our resident audio expert Billy Steele took a listen, he found the sound quality to be greatly improved -- and that's before you even factor in the addition of active noise cancellation. They've also gotten a redesign, making them more comfortable and secure in your ears.
I really stepped in it this time. I went and fell in love with AirPods--Apple's take on truly wireless earbuds (available at Best Buy for $159.99). I can't believe I wound up in this situation. For months leading up to the release of AirPods, I balked at Apple's proposed wireless headphones: "Apple's regular, wired EarPods are so terrible," I'd say. "Apple should've used this opportunity to design something better.
One of the dominant trends of IFA 2017 was the sheer volume of companies, both known and not-so known, that launched Bluetooth earbuds. The "truly wireless" revolution that was kickstarted by Bragi and embraced by Samsung and Apple is now a bandwagon that everyone is jumping on. A recent Wirecutter roundup listed more than 20 companies making truly wireless earbuds, and we can expect that number to increase exponentially soon. At the show we took a closer look at offerings from mid-lower-end players like Philips and higher-end ones like B&O Play. Speaking with representatives at the show, it's clear that the advent of the Bragi, back in 2014, sparked a flurry of internal discussions at many audio companies.
Apple's new 159 wireless AirPod earbuds attracted instant backlash after their announcement with the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus and Apple Watch Series 2 at the company's big fall event on Wednesday. Even though the wireless earbuds come with a carrying/charging case, the chances of losing one of them is high -- same as with any cable-free wireless earbuds. But there is good news! Apple has confirmed to Mashable it will sell individual replacements "through normal service channels." SEE ALSO: 9 things Apple didn't tell you about iPhone 7, Apple Watch 2 and AirPods How much will individual replacement AirPod earbuds cost?
Apple is trying to push consumers to a wireless future by eliminating the headphone jack. And the tip of this particular spear for Apple are the AirPods, its new set of wireless Bluetooth earbuds. Apple provided me with a pair to use while I reviewed the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus. They pair to Apple devices particularly well, thanks to a special chip that lets you easily sync to Apple devices and switch between them. You can also pair them as normal Bluetooth headphones with non-Apple devices, though you lose both of those features when you do.